What You Need to Know about Keeping Pond Fish
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Published by TOP4 Team
Fish will add life, colour and movement to your pond. And if it’s easy care you need, you can’t go past goldfish.
Fish will make your pond more interesting and help control mozzies, too. The world’s most popular pond fish are goldfish and koi, but goldfish are the easiest to manage. So, if this is your first time, make goldfish your choice.
Goldfish are perfect for beginners. One reason is they don’t cost a lot to place if things go wrong. There are many colours and breeds of goldfish. When choosing, remember, the fancier the appearance, the less hardy the fish will be in an outdoor pond. The toughest varieties of goldfish are single tailed. These fish are alert and great swimmers, capable of darting away from predators much faster than the twin-tailed types. If your aim is to create a colourful underwater scene, choose bright gold and orange fish as they’ll contrast superbly with a black pond liner.
When you’re ready to buy, deal only with a reputable, registered outlet. Look for bright, alert specimens with clear eyes and erect fins. And say no to fish with missing scales. Expect a 10cm goldfish to cost about $13 and a 5cm goldfish to cost about $5.
Fish are generally sold in clear plastic bags, which can heat up quickly. Because goldfish don’t react well to dramatic changes in temperature and changes in water chemistry it’s important to shield them from hot spots on the journey home. The best way to do this is to place the bag in a styrofoam box or a picnic cooler.
All in good time
It is best to rest a new pond for three (3) to five (5) weeks before adding fish. This allows the pond and plants to find balance and the water to age. In time, the natural process of evaporation will draw most of the chlorine out of the water. If you can’t wait you can shortcut this process by adding a water-aging solution, available from a pet or aquatic store.
Releasing fish into a new environment can be stressful for them, unless the process is carried out gradually.
STEP 1: Float the bag on the pond for 15-20 minutes to bring the water to pond temperature.
STEP 2: Open the bag and pour in a cup of pond water. Close and gently rotate the bag for a few minutes to combine the water. Repeat this step twice.
STEP 3: Open the bag and allow the fish to swim into the pond.
What’s for dinner?
Goldfish eat both vegetation and live food, so you should provide your fish with a combination of fish flakes, pellets, vegetable matter and live and frozen foods.
Feed small amounts of food regularly, as opposed to large amounts infrequently. Overfeeding is the biggest cause of death for goldfish; the excess food rots in the water and becomes toxic. It’s safest to feed every day with no more food than the fish can devour in two (2) minutes.
Plants are nature’s way of dealing with nutrient-rich fish excrement that causes algae. Barley straw can also be used to keep the pond algae free. A water filter will also help keep the pond clean, otherwise change one-quarter of the water every month. A biological filtration system or UV steriliser is another way to keep things clean.